With such onerous legal obligations on their shoulders, private landlords and letting agents constantly have to ensure that they are complying with their responsibilities.
Whilst we are well used to frequent legislative changes in residential lettings, it’s easy to forget that tenants have responsibilities too and some of the oldest Court cases determined some of the most fundamental legal principles.
One of these was Warren v Keen in 1953 when Lord Denning ruled that tenants must behave in a “tenant-like manner”.
But what does this mean in practice? To quote Lord Denning himself;
“The tenant must take proper care of the premises. He must, if he is going away for the winter, turn off the water and empty the boiler; he must clean the chimneys when necessary and also the windows; he must mend the electric light when it fuses; he must unstop the sink when it is blocked by his waste. In short, he must do the little jobs around the place which a reasonable tenant would do. In addition, he must not, of course, damage the house wilfully or negligently……”
These principles still apply today even though the cleaning of chimneys is not so relevant and todays’ health and safety considerations apply!
This case is well worth remembering - it is certainly one which I found useful to quote to a tenant years ago when they were insistent that their landlord should immediately attend their property to replace a lightbulb!
Caroline Kenny AssocRICS DipRLM FARLA(retd) is a freelance residential lettings consultant as well as a Business Development Consultant to the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA). email@example.com.